GO Transit is again offering seasonal GO train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto. This year, the service is available during the Victoria Day long weekend, Friday, May 17 until Victoria Day, Monday, May 20, then every Saturday, Sunday and and holiday from Saturday, June 29 until Labour Day, Monday, September 2.
Trains operate Friday evenings and several times each Saturday, Sunday and holiday, dropping off and pick up passengers at Union Station, Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville and Burlington GO stations and St. Catharines and Niagara Falls VIA Rail stations.
GO has not yet finalized its schedule for the summer service, but it has published its schedule for the Victoria Day long weekend, here. (.pdf)
After June 29, GO will also again operate express buses carrying passengers between St. Catharines VIA Rail Station and downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The travel time between Union Station and Niagara Falls is about two hours, passing through many cities and towns and across the Welland Canal.
Although GO says it will make “every effort.. to get you there on time”, you may experience delays because GO, freight and VIA trains share a single track through this corridor. Since a lift bridge carries the tracks across the canal, ships passing through the canal may also delay the trains.
GO is equipping all trains operating along the line Saturdays, Sundays and holidays with two special bicycle coaches. (The coaches are not available Friday evenings.) The bike coaches — the sixth and seventh rail cars from the locomotive — can hold 18 bikes on the lower level. All regular coaches can also hold two bikes.
Although most people view news of the return of GO trains to Niagara with enthusiasm, apparently, fewer and fewer people each year are turning their enthusiasm into action.
St. Catharines Standard columnist Doug Herod reports that “after attracting close to 50,000 riders in 2009, the numbers [for the summer weekend service to Niagara Region dropped to around 30,000 in both 2010 and 2011… and ridership plunged to 21,400 last year.”
12 Niagara Falls trains
Friday, May 17 the train leaves Union Station at 6:20 p.m. and arrives in the Niagara Falls VIA Rail Station at 8:24 p.m. A return train leaves Niagara Falls at 8:40 p.m. and arrives in Union at 10:44 p.m.
Saturday, May 18, Sunday, May 19 and Victoria Day, Monday, May 20, trains leave Union Station at 9 a.m. and 4:15 and 8:10 p.m. They arrive in Niagara Falls at 11:04 a.m. and 6:19 and 10:14 p.m.
The trains leave Niagara Falls at 8 and 11:30 a.m. and 7:20 and 10:30 p.m. They arrive in Union at 10:04 a.m., 1:34 and 9:24 p.m. May 18, 19 and 20 and 12:34 a.m. May 21, 22 and 23.
GO will post the complete summer weekend schedule on-line in mid-May.